Thai Catholics Bake Portuguese Treats
15 images Created 28 Oct 2014
Pajonglak Maneeprasit Bakery in Bangkok bakes thousands of cakes every day. The cakes are called "Kanom Farang Kudeejeen" or "Chinese Monk Candy." The tradition of baking the cakes, about the size of a cupcake or muffin, started in Siam (now Thailand) in the 17th century AD when Portuguese Catholic priests accompanied Portuguese soldiers who assisted the Siamese in their wars with Burma. Several hundred Siamese (Thai) Buddhists converted to Catholicism and started baking the cakes. When the Siamese Empire in Ayutthaya was sacked by the Burmese the Portuguese and Thai Catholics fled to Thonburi, in what is now Bangkok. The Portuguese established a Catholic church near the new Siamese capital. Now just three families bake the cakes, using a recipe that is 400 years old and contains eggs, wheat flour, sugar, water and raisins. The same family has been baking the cakes at the Pajonglak Maneeprasit Bakery, near Santa Cruz Church, for more than 245 years.